Sticks and Stones. Part 1.

A fresh can of choice quality pea soup might be coming straight for your noggin.

A fresh can of choice quality pea soup might be coming straight for your noggin.

There are a variety of ways to break bones. Sticks and stones are remarkably effective, but where does that all start? With the right words of course. Here's the first of many short lists of words guaranteed to win you a flurry of sticks, stones, broken bottles, garbage, soup cans, you name it, headed in your direction. Pepper your language liberally. Best wishes.

1. Etymology. The foundation or history of words.
Knowing what a word means is one thing. Knowing the word which tells others you know where the word came from is downright irritating. Using that word in place of "history" on everything makes you a candidate for the business end of blind rage. For example, "It all depends on it's etymology." Now, go find the history of the word "bruise."

2. Diaspora. Scattering or migration of a people or civilization.
Newspeople love to use "diaspora." Newspeople also love to use words incorrectly. Hence, fans of newspeople tend to do the same thing. Both are in need of a good beating. A couple of possible phrases: "There's been a real theatre diaspora in this town." Or "Fans are upset over the high school wrestling diaspora."

3. Antediluvian. Old fashioned or antiquated.
The word scores on two levels: 1) Its got some Grade A Fancy pronunciation requirements, and 2) it sounds very sci-fi, like a line from a character in Dune (page 2,045, third paragraph) "Don't worry, the Antediluvians will rescue us from the sand worms!" Suggested phrase: "Your antediluvian sense of décor is so quaint." Extra frog in the arm for using "décor."

4. Nonce. Now, present.
Just saying the word leaves your mouth dripping with pretension. If you used this while chatting it up at the Harvard English Department Mixer, even they would worry you're exhibiting the first signs of having a stroke. And not a stroke of genius. Nonce makes others feel confused, then bewildered, then tired of your existence. Try this one: "The rain seems to have stopped, at least for the nonce." See? Smack.

5. Antipodal. Opposite or opposed.
Similar to nonce in that it's high on the pompous scale and it seems like a mistake no matter how you use it. For example, "On the graph we have our starting point, now who can find it's antipodal point?" Wha? Is there a formula for that? Or "Oh, you and your antipodal sister." My sister's antipodal? When did this happen? You'll likely be punched in the neck.